Complementary nutrients that help optimize your health
Many vitamins and minerals interact with each other and certain pairs work to create beneficial nutrient synergy.
To be useful in maintaining health, nutrients have to be absorbed. And complementary nutrients are often helpful because they support proper absorption. This makes compounds available for your body to maintain healthy levels and utilize the nutrients it needs. Other pairs provide aid through optimized performance or transformations that support nutrient action.
Complementary nutrients are a heartwarming—and in some cases heart-supporting—concept. Vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds combining for the good of your health. And you can take advantage of nutrient synergy to help you feel your best and live your life to the fullest.
Pick up the following pairs to make sure you’re taking in plenty of nutrients that work together.
How Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin D Operate as a Power Trio.
Here’s the recipe for a variety of important nutrient synergies:
add the most abundant mineral in the body (calcium)
toss in a powerful, hormone-like vitamin (D, that is)
finish it off with a mineral that impacts hundreds of enzyme systems (magnesium)
That essential trio accounts for many complementary connections. Calcium holds down the center of this tremendous trio. With the importance of that particular macromineral, it’s not a big surprise it relies on the most other nutrients to work optimally.
Magnesium’s supporting act in service of calcium starts with absorption in the small intestine. The two minerals share similar passage into the blood stream, and both depend on comparable activation in the kidney. Through enzyme activity and the parathyroid hormone, magnesium also helps maintain normal calcium levels in your blood—providing important support for bone and overall health.
Calcium’s utility is also complemented by vitamin D. That’s because the hormone-like vitamin helps maintain healthy calcium levels in two ways. First, it helps optimize absorption of the mineral in your gut. Second, vitamin D supports the regulation of calcium in your body.
The regulatory functions of these complementary nutrients have an important role in maintaining bone health. That’s because vitamin D’s work supporting calcium regulation revolves around the optimal functioning of the bone mineralization process. Vitamin D acts as a key cog to maintain this process, which helps calcium fill in your bone matrix to optimize skeletal health and strength.
The trio’s connections aren’t completely dependent on calcium. Magnesium works in so many enzymes that it also acts as complementary nutrient to vitamin D in two ways. The hard-working mineral helps optimize the metabolism and activation of the sunshine vitamin.
Magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D are an excellent example of three nutrients that work together. So take advantage of their connections and the many ways they help maintain your overall health.
Vitamin K Pairs Well with Calcium.
When talking about calcium complements, vitamin K2 bears mentioning. Achieving the right balance of calcium and K2 supports the mineral’s important role in bone-health maintenance. And it does this while helping safeguard against the effects of too much calcium.
This happens because vitamin K2 supports the action of osteocalcin. You need this compound in the body to collect calcium from the blood and help the mineral become part of your bones. Osteocalcin isn’t created in an active form. To ready it for work, you need the support of vitamin K2.
Bones aren’t the only benefactors of this partnership. These complementary nutrients support proper calcium utilization, which helps maintain a healthy circulatory system. When calcium is shipped to the bones instead of settling in arteries, you’re able to maintain healthy, flexible blood vessels—supporting your heart and circulatory health.
Two Ways Vitamin C Acts as a Complementary Nutrient.
Vitamin C is plenty powerful on its own. You’ll summon antioxidant activity, circulatory support, and maintain healthy collagen production. And vitamin C plays well with two other important nutrients—iron and vitamin E.
Under normal conditions, your body is good at taking in iron from meat sources. The same can’t be said of plant-based forms of the metal. But it’s vitamin C to the rescue, helping iron from plant sources become available for absorption in your gut cells.
Vitamin C and E are also both powerful antioxidants. And they happen to be a pair of nutrients that work together to support other parts of your health, as well. The immune system is one of the big recipients of their combined powers. Working together, the two vitamins help support healthy immune function. They also help provide proper antioxidant support during exercise.
The Teamwork of Sodium and Potassium Involves a Delicate Balancing Act.
Name a more powerful electrolyte duo than sodium and potassium. It’s hard to do. They’re both important forces for maintaining your body’s healthy fluid balance. And they act as complementary nutrients in other aspects of health, too.
This relationship is especially key in conversations about maintaining healthy blood pressure already in the normal range. You need potassium to help balance out all the sodium in the modern diet and support heart health and keep blood pressure in the normal range.
These potent electrolytes also combine to support bone and kidney health. They also work together to optimize the transmission of nerve and muscle signals. That’s because the intake of potassium by cells bumps out sodium, helping to maintain proper communication between nerves and muscles alike.
Two Symbiotic B Vitamins: B12 and Folate.
It seems right that a pair of B vitamins makes the list of complementary nutrients. Not all B vitamins work together as well as B12 and folate (B9), though.
Their teamwork helps support two of the most bedrock processes of life—cell division and replication. They also support the metabolism of homocysteine (a prevalent amino acid with ties to heart health). But this relationship starts at the absorption stage, where B12 supports a string of natural processes that make folate available for use in your body.
Smart Food Choices Help You Maximize the Power of Complementary Nutrients.
Food is a delicious delivery device for nutrients. Filling your meals with a variety of nutritious foods is the best way to have your diet constantly deliver packages of nutrients that work together.
Diversify by eating a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables. Pair your impressive array of plants with lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of water. (One reason you need the fat and water is to support proper absorption of the various vitamins in your diet.)
So load up a spinach salad (for the iron) with orange wedges (packed with vitamin C) and add in sunflower seeds (to add in vitamin E). Your taste buds will be happy while you crunch down on complementary nutrients your body can use to help you thrive.